Lessons from the amazing journey of being a designer
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journey

Lessons from the amazing journey of being a designer.

 

About two years ago I set myself the goal of writing articles that invite reflection more than anything; topics that can help newcomer designers step back from the day-to-day craft and think about our discipline at large. There are enough great tutorials on the internet, but the real challenges of being a designer cannot be codified in step-by-step guides.

 
 

Hope you enjoy the ride.

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Season

02

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Taking notes is not only a functional task; it’s also a demonstration of interest. It shows you care about the feedback you’re hearing.
 
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Someone decided Alexa would take your orders without you having to say ‘please’, or ‘thanks”. Will that possibly affect the way you treat waiters (and other service providers) in a few years?
 
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Designers find it hard to articulate in one simple sentence how their skillset, personality, and world views are different than other designers. Getting to that one sentence who define who they are professionally can be a process that takes months, and several therapy-like mentorship sessions.
 
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  • Write clear emails

  • Be flexible; briefs change

  • Find problems before they occur

  • Bring energy to the table

  • Don’t take design critique as an insult

  • Understand the impact of moving that button

  • Make people around you feel comfortable

  • Bring 3 solutions with every complaint

  • Don’t give up too fast

  • Mute your microphone when not speaking

  • Be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses

  • Bend, but not break

  • Take notes; it shows respect

  • Pay attention to details

  • Get off your chair to point at something in the screen

  • Get off your chair to whiteboard

  • Know exactly which Slack reactions to use, when

  • Avoid jargon

  • Fail gracefully

  • Be aware of your own bias

  • Simplify

  • Offer to help before being asked

  • Make a silly joke every other hour

  • Explore at least 3 options for everything

  • Give credit

  • Deliver your work in layers

  • Smile

  • Break down big tasks into smaller pieces

  • Know when to work late

  • Do your own research, even if you’re not a researcher

  • Write copy for your designs, even if you’re not a writer

  • Organize your own tasks, even if you’re not a project manager

  • Lead, even if that word is not in your title

  • Deliver your work 2 hours ahead

  • Expand your skill set over time

  • Invite people for coffee

  • Honor requests

  • Share your source files

  • Be ready for a meeting 2 minutes before it starts

  • Know how to negotiate

  • Engage with the design community

  • Share thought leadership content online

  • Avoid conversations that will exclude some people

  • Back your decisions with data whenever possible

  • Don’t hold information that can help others thrive

  • Encourage feedback

  • Leverage the strengths of others around you